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Monday, January 23, 2012

Updated GOP Primary Standings

(Note: if you've arrived here via a google search, the standings are probably out of date. Click here for the latest coverage.)

Below are the ever-confusing Republican Primary standings. To understand how delegates are allocated to states and awarded to candidates, read my posts here and here. Those posts will explain why the standings below show ranges of pledged primary delegates, instead of a clear number.

1. Mitt Romney: 30-36 (14-20 pledged delegates, 16 superdelegates)
2. Newt Gingrich: 24-28 (23-27 pledged delegates if you include Perry's Iowa delegates, 1 superdelegate)
3. Rick Santorum: 7-12 (6-11 pledged delegates, 1 superdelegate)
4. Ron Paul: 3-10 (all pledged delegates)

Thoughts on each candidate's standing:
4. Ron Paul--Expect him to finish last among all active candidates until he's mathematically eliminated. And he's fine with that. He knows Santorum is the next to drop, and then he'll share the podium with only two others. He'll win some delegates here and there and hold onto the national microphone for as long as possible. Everyone but the most rabid Paul supporters knew he never had a shot at the nomination. The best they can hope for is to shape the debate... and maybe the Zombie Apocalypse.

(Honestly, I'm beginning to feel like a broken record with the Paul analysis.)

3. Rick Santorum--It was a good run. Quixotic even. He traveled to every coffee shop in Iowa. He stood up for conservative values. He stuck with a campaign that had him stuck on the end of every debate stage. It was a good run.

But it wasn't enough. He simply didn't have the legs to make a deep run into the primary. Every resource was spent in Iowa, and when he didn't win it--even though he did--the bounce just wasn't there. The train he took out of Iowa stalled in New Hampshire and never got going again.

Moving forward, he seems to be most relevant because his endorsement--if he drops out--could tip the balance. Many wonder if he'll even drop out at all, or if he'll push forward, as he indicated Saturday night. (He might also stay in until two days before the Florida Primary then drop out, a la Rick Perry last Thursday.) The implications for this decision are clear: if he drops out, conventional wisdom says that Gingrich picks up even more momentum as the "Nom"mey candidate, and he perhaps would sew up 51 percent plus of Republican delegates the rest of the way. If Santorum stays in, however, the sizeable anti-Romney faction remains split. With Florida as a winner-take-all primary, a lot hinges on Santorum's decision.

(Still, let me make known that I'm not convinced Santorum, if he does drop out, endorses Gingrich. They have their differences, too. Moreover, a Romney-Santorum ticket makes a lot of sense and could be Santorum's best route to the Oval Office; if Santorum agrees, he'll avoid picking a horse before the race's result is clear.)

2. Newt Gingrich--The man of the hour. His ground-shaking 13-point win in South Carolina changed the face of the Republican Primary. When Mitt Romney won New Hampshire, he was 2-0 and had a solid lead in South Carolinian polling. But here's what I wrote on January 11, the day after the New Hampshire Primary:

Think about it--there are ten days until January 21st's South Carolina Primary. Ten days. After Romney was hammered over the weekend and lost five points on his home turf, I wonder what ten days in the South can do to a Massachusetts Mormon with a moderate past. His South Carolina poll lead might not last until the 21st, and Gingrich might be the reason why.

Well, there you have it.

1. Mitt Romney--Romney started the week at 2-0 looking for a third straight win, which many said would have clinched the nomination as the other candidates deferred to his inevitability. Instead, his Iowa win over Rick Santorum was overturned, and then he suffered a 13-point loss to Newt Gingrich in South Carolina. In other words: that was a rough week for Mitt Romney.

Can he rebound? If so, how? Can Gingrich continue his momentum? What is Rick Santorum's plan?

For answers, check back here throughout the week. A reminder that there's a debate tonight, and I'll try to share some thoughts about it tomorrow.

Speaking of debates, I'd like to make my first announcement of a scheduled LIVE BLOG for Thursday night's CNN debate. I hope you'll join me. For now, I apologize in advance for the constant reminders I will post before then.



Garry said...

Personally I don't see how newt doesnt win now!!

Stevie K said...

Who needs a crystal ball when we have Presidential Politics for America? (Or a blogger who knows how to hedge his bets!) You should have announced the live blog on Construction. I'll be tuning in.

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